Last updated 22 March 2013 Posted in Europe, Countries

  • Official country name: Iceland
  • Size: 103,001 square kilometre (39,770 square mile)
  • Population: 313,183 (2012 est.)
  • Internet TLD: .is
  • Calling code: +354
  • GDP: 12.409 billion dollars (38,060 dollars per capita)
  • Major import partners: Norway, United States, Germany
  • Major export partners: The Netherlands, Germany, The United Kingdom
  • Currency: Islandic Króna (ISK)

Business skills

Meeting styles

It is wise to make appointments well in advance to ensure the meeting. Icelandic businesses often close during July, because it is their summer holiday month. When you set a time and date for a meeting make sure you arrive before the start time. The Icelanders place great value on punctuality. Notify the host if you are not able to make it on time, the host will appreciate this.

When meeting Icelandic people, the traditional way to greet them is with a handshake. At the beginning of a meeting it is consider polite to shake every participant hand and say that you are delighted to meet them. Make sure the gesture is coupled with good eye contact and that your handshake is quit firm.

Another important detail when meeting Icelandic people are their names. When meeting Icelanders during business and social occasions you will soon notice that the majority of Icelanders do not have original surnames. Hence that when you look in telephone directories the people are listed by their first names. The surnames of the Icelanders are based on their father´s Christian name plus the addition of ´son´ of ´daughter´ in Icelandic. When you meet an Icelander for the first time you always address each other as Fru (Mrs) or Herra (Mr). Also it is common to exchange business cards during a meeting. Most of the time you will receive cards from the host as well as the participants. Do not forget to hand them your business card in return.  If there is an exchange of gifts during a meeting it normally takes places afterwards. Icelanders tend to be concise and straight to the point during a meeting. They prefer it if a visitor acts the same.

Icelanders also expect that a visitor does his or her best do dress appropriate and smart for formal business meetings, because on the subject of their appearance almost every Icelander find their image and how they look very important. They tend to take care of themselves very well. There are just a few organisations on Iceland where the employees wear informal clothing, so as a visitor you better be overdressed than underdressed.